Doctor Who and the Dalek Invasion of Earth by Terrance Dicks
Edition read: In Doctor Who Classics, 1988
Coolest Cover: Achilleos without a shadow of a doubt, although he’s clearly illustrating the book of the film. And a rather fetching tangerine logo.
The BBC Budget Wouldn’t Run To: Proper tunnels for the mine sequences- they’re the one element which are much better in your mind’s eye.
Purple Prose: "Through the ruin of a city stalked the ruin of a man." (p.7)
The TARDIS materialises with... "a wheezing, groaning sound"
...and dematerialises... leaving Susan with one shoe.
Continuity Conundrums: This version goes with the 2164+ date. Also the Daleks’ robotising machine scans the Doctor and doesn’t find anything strange about him.
Childhood Recollections: There was definitely a hardback copy of this in my local library- the cover is etched on my mind. On reflection the chemical warfare Roboman is really quite edgy in the circumstances.
Ramblings: Of all the Hartnell era stories, this was always one which was going to be done sooner rather than later, if only because of the combination of the Daleks and the plot already being familiar from the Peter Cushing film. It’s also the very first adaptation since Doctor Who and the Daleks to go back to the original crew. Now my own personal feeling is that ‘World’s End’ is quite probably the single best black and white episode in existence; it’s dark, gritty and depressing and the use of location filming is a revelation. So I was pleasantly surprised to be reminded that Dicks doesn’t shy away from this aspect of the story in favour of the lighter approach of the film- rather, it’s made an essential part of the book. Only two of the cliffhangers are kept in place, and the narrative is balanced rather more evenly than the recording requirements of 1960s television allowed, following each separate party and then moving between the different groups, which leads to some incidents such as Barbara and Jenny’s encounter with the women in the forest compressed down to a couple of pages with no opportunity to build up the tension. The only other noticeable difference is that Larry and Phil’s deaths are perhaps understandably altered and toned down, people emptying machine guns into each other at point-blank range perhaps being a little strong for a children’s (or young adult) title. But it’s a successful adaptation and cuts out a lot of the slower elements of the televised story without losing its power.